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The I-130 Immigrant Petition Process


How long should the entire I-130 immigrant petition process take?

It depends on the type of immigrant petition that was filed. For example, spouses, parents, and unmarried minor children of U.S. citizens can expect any interview within TWENTY (20) to TWENTY-SIX (26) months after filing. Meanwhile, spouses, parents, and unmarried minor children of Permanent Residents may have to wait outside of the U.S. for TWO (2) or more years. Additionally, the processing time may be impacted by the number of cases and the amount of staff available at your local, immigration service center. Current visa processing times can be found by reviewing the Department of State’s Visa Bulletin that is updated monthly. The Visa Bulletin contains updated processing information for various types of visas – both family-based and employment-based immigrant visas.

Is there a specific amount of time that a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) must remain in the U.S.?

There is no required amount of time that a permanent resident must remain in the U.S. However, if the permanent resident travels abroad (out of the U.S.) and remains outside of the U.S. for longer than SIX (6) months, there may be issues.

If a trip abroad is longer than SIX (6) months, a lawful permanent resident (LPR) may lose their Green Card due to “abandonment.” This determination is made by the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) officer at the time of entry. The Green Cardholder will need to provide the CBP officer with evidence that s/he did not abandon their residency.

If a trip is longer than TWELVE (12) months, Green Card holders will need to notify the U.S. government and file for a travel permit. The travel permit can be applied inside or outside of the U.S. If a Green Card holder leaves the U.S. for over TWELVE (12) months and does not have a travel permit, the Green Card is determined abandoned (in most cases). The travel permit will be generally valid for TWO (2) years.

When can a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) apply for naturalization?

If you are currently married to a U.S. citizen, you will be eligible for naturalization after THREE (3) years of being a LPR.

If you are not currently married to a U.S. citizen, you will be eligible for naturalization after FIVE (5) years of being a LPR.

Please note that in order to apply for naturalization, Green Card holders must maintain physical and continuous residence for a certain number of days before applying. Please consult with our office if you are considering naturalization (citizenship), but would like to confirm your eligibility.

If a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) applies for U.S. naturalization, will s/he lose their foreign citizenship?

A permanent resident will not automatically lose his or her foreign citizenship.

Is a Lawful Permanent Resident requested to give up his or her citizenship if he or she applies for naturalization as a U.S. Citizen?

Maybe. The U.S. Supreme Court has been sanctioned in 1967 and the U.S. State Department’s website confirms that the U.S. government will not ask someone to renounce (give up) their prior citizenship; however, some countries do not allow for dual citizenship.

Can my spouse and children be included in the immigrant petition?

If your spouse or child (unmarried and under 21) is currently in the United States, you will need to file separate immigrant petitions for each person.

If your spouse or child is currently outside of the U.S., you can file an immigrant petition for your spouse – and your children can accompany your spouse once a visa number becomes available.

Can my stepchildren be included in the immigrant petition?

Yes. However, the marriage between the child’s biological parent and the stepparent must have occurred before the child reached EIGHTEEN (18) years old.

Can my adopted child be included in the immigrant petition?

In general, yes, if the adoption occurred before the child turned SIXTEEN (16) years old.

For more information on I-130 Immigrant Petition Process, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (281) 777-1236 today.

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